Another Dealer Spotlight and we at Carna4 are really excited to be able to speak to long time manager Jenny Lewin at ‘Dog Patch Pet and Feed’ in Naperville, Illinois. Jenny shared her thoughts on the industry and her passion for dogs.
C4: Hi Jenny, Nice to talk with you. We know you are very passionate about the health of animals and providing animals with healthy food, where does this come from?
J: My passion comes from wanting to make sure pets are happy and healthy. There are always great challenges working in this industry… tummy troubles, better nutrition, etc. and it feels great to help pets and provide a great healthy outcome. It makes me very happy when the pets I help are doing well and the owners are happy too.
I also really enjoy the people and being around pets and because Dog Patch is a family it feels great to build the connection between our staff, families and pets.
C4: What do you think the future trends will be in pet food?
J: I personally think there will be more stores moving to a ‘natural approach’, to food where we offer pet food with no gunk in it. And frankly, that is a nice change… everyone is on a health kick and that trickles down to the pet world and owners wanting the same things for their pets.
C4: What do you think are the keys to being a success in the pet food industry?
J: Dog Patch has been in business for 40 years and the key is we always pride our store on being different because of our extremely caring and knowledgeable staff and that we deliver honesty. Something we are always thinking about is if an animal wanted to find food it would come to our store to eat and get knowledge about its health.
We are always trying to recognize when animals are stressed and how to fix pets’ health issues. We want to make sure we stand out because we make sure pets are at their happiest. We also pride ourselves on knowing nutritional info and potential medical info we can share with our customers. We want all of our staff to want to be smarter about pet health and have amazing product knowledge. We say that you should not just be clerking, our staff should be inquisitive and have a strong opinion. They should be honest and not just try and sell whatever is on the shelf, that no is a fine answer when suggesting a food or selling a pet. Animal husbandry (the care of the animal) and knowing how to properly take care of an animal, all the ins and outs, is imperative in our staff.
C4: What advice would you give new people in the industry?
J: Just do your research and your homework, keep learning and asking questions. It is very fun, but there is a lot of work, if you want to be the best you have to do the best.
C4: Dog Patch has a close relation with animal rescues in the Chicago area, how did that happen?
J: In November of 2011, Dog Patch decided that with so many dogs needing homes, and such an overload in the area’s shelters we would stop selling breeder dogs and instead start training rescue dogs and helping get pets placed.
Some dogs come in with behaviour issues, but the staff love the challenge of these special pets and do the training for the dogs with specialists. Not all dogs get training but they all get worked out every day. The staff is also instructed on how to help the dogs to become good ‘citizens’. Dog Patch works closely with Chicago Animal Control as well as a few animal shelters in Indiana. We have made a major commitment to help animals in as many ways as possible.